WILL RENEWABLE ENERGY BANKRUPT THE UNITED KINGDOM?
By Dennis T. Avery
One-fourth of British households may be forced into “fuel poverty” by 2015, as the British government raises electricity and gas taxes to invest in more high-cost renewable energy — especially high-cost and erratic offshore wind turbines.
“So it is time for Britain to abandon unilateral and unrealistic targets for cutting CO2 emissions, especially where they will only be achieved by investing a fortune in prohibitively expensive ‘renewable’ sources of energy,” concludes the Daily Express.
The costs of British electricity have doubled since 2004, and are expected to rise another 20 percent this year. The German Deutsch Bank predicts another 25 percent rise by 2015 as the United Kingdom pours billions of public dollars — from both the Treasury and higher consumer billing — into the big steel barges and the tall turbine towers.
“‘Radical policy change’ may be necessary to protect millions of struggling families from the biggest household price shock since the 1970s,” writes Sean Poulter in the Daily Mail of October 12, quoting London financial analysts. Meanwhile, Poulter says, with the worst unemployment figures for 17 years, the Institute for Fiscal Studies found families are about to endure their biggest income drop in over 35 years (a collapse which, incidentally, brought Margaret Thatcher to power).
Put another way, the British cost of electricity is rising about six times as fast as British household incomes, according to David Blair in the Financial Times of October 11. He predicts the steady rise in electricity and gas charges could force the government to reconsider spending L200 billion on new infrastructure by 2020, especially that big expansion of wind power.
“If the rate of increase continues, it would concentrate minds even further and energy costs would rise potentially to the top of the public’s agenda and therefore of the political agenda,” Blair quotes David Hunter, an energy consultant. Mr. Hunter described the costs as “eye-watering.”
Meanwhile, Lord David Young, the former U.K. Secretary for Trade and Industry, said in the London Times:
Lord Young warns, “in an age of few political beliefs, the cause of climate change [has become] an end in itself. . . . Only recently, the Government Chief Scientist [Professor Sir David King], no less, forecasted that, by the end of the [21st.] Century, Antarctica would be the only habitable continent.”
But he notes that there has been no global warming trend since 1998. “Are we absolutely certain that the main cause of global warming is carbon and has nothing to do with the output of the Sun, or any of the other theories?” he asked. “It would be unfortunate if history recalled that we solved a problem that, in the end, did not require a solution by tipping [Britain’s economy] into a depression.”
Political Economy -- Philosophies, Systems, & Public Policies:
Government, the Economy, & Economic Prosperity
The Earth's Natural History, Global Climate Changes,
& the Future of Human Life & Civilization on the Planet:
Science, Ideology, & Public Policy
Britain -- The United Kingdom of Great Britain & Northern Ireland:
Mother Country & Close Ally of the United States of America
The Anglosphere -- The English-Speaking World:
The U.S.A., Britain, Canada, Australia, & New Zealand
Dennis T. Avery is a senior fellow and environmental economist for the Hudson Institute in Washington, D.C., as well as
Director of the Institute's Center for Global Food Issues (CGFI) and Editor of Global Food Quarterly, the newsletter
of the CGFI. Formerly, he was a senior policy analyst for the United States Department of State, where he won the National
Intelligence Medal of Achievement. He is co-author, with atmospheric physicist Fred Singer, of the book,Unstoppable
Global Warming: Every 1500 Years (Blue Ridge Summit, Pennsylvania: Rowman & Littlefield, 2006). Avery's book,
Saving the Planet With Pesticides and Plastic: The Environmental Triumph of High-Yield Farming (Washington,
D.C.: Hudson Institute, 1995 and 2000), continues to be popular as a readable overview of realistic agriculture for the future
and for today. Readers may write Avery at Post Office Box 202, Churchville, Virginia, 24421. Email: email@example.com
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